Education too is a client service
Posted Monday, September 10 2012 at 19:00
- I wonder how many teachers and school administrators have customer service excellence as one of their main agendas
- Contrary to that believe, I put it to you that tutors provide a service
- When learners believe that a teacher provides them “good” service and cares about them, they are more willing to listen and learn
I received overwhelming feedback from last week’s article on what not to say to our customers.
Many confessed using phrases bearing negative connotation in their daily conversations. A contact that caught my attention was a teacher from a private school.
Coincidentally, I was thinking about the same subject — teacher-student relationship. Unfortunate, many of us view education as a customer service industry. Some may wonder if there is need to import customer service from business to education industry at a time like now.
I wonder how many teachers and school administrators have customer service excellence as one of their main agendas. Customer service for teachers!
This does not at all sound like a programme that would attract a full class. How eager are teachers to learn how to exceed their customer’s expectations?
After all isn’t customer service for those that answer phones and sit at the front office? Teachers rarely receive official calls, all they do is teach and evaluate.
Contrary to that believe, I put it to you that tutors provide a service. I am certain that customer service for them would catch the attention of a few especially those in the private education sector. Today more than ever before, teachers need to focus more on customer service excellence.
Who is the customer in this case? Well, both the students and their parents. I have been a student. In addition, at the moment I am an adjunct lecturer, a member of boards of governors and also a school alumnus.
While serving in these capacities, customer service in education has become of interest. The notion of students as customers may not be outright in all learning institutions.
When learners believe that a teacher provides them “good” service and cares about them, they are more willing to listen and learn. It doesn’t matter that the institution is private or public, rural or urban, primary, secondary or higher education.
Many students are said to comply with the teacher’s instruction, are more active in class and complete assignments of the “good” teachers.
Educationalists, however, note there are no good or bad teachers but rather effective and ineffective ones.
That being the case, an effective teacher in my understanding is one that understands students’ needs and seeks to meet them while creating a memorable experience.
Looking back to your school days; I believe you can quickly point out to a Mr Onyango or a Ms Patel who was always there for you.
Since education is a customer service industry, are teachers willing to learn and put into practice basic customer service skills such as positive communication?
This remains to be seen from the student’s feedback. In the meantime, institutions of learning need to be more deliberate and proactive in making clear customer service standards that need to be observed.
Quoting Henry Adams, a teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops. At the individual level, each tutor has a personal responsibility to take good care of the students. Recognising students as customers in need of help is a good starting point.